Rugs are a fantastic way of adding warmth and some colorful accents to a room. Area rugs help cover unsightly areas of the floor, create intimate spaces for dining and visiting, cushion our feet, and can brighten up a dull and dark area of the home.
For families on a budget, area rugs made of man made fibers, known as “synthetics,” are an affordable option to the traditional wool rugs that our parents owned. Synthetic rugs are less expensive than natural fiber rugs, and both strong and stain resistant which make them ideal for highly trafficked areas of your home. Cleaning and caring for synthetic area rugs is easy when you follow these instructions:
1. Vacuum regularly. Just like carpeting, synthetic area rugs should be cleaned by vacuuming on a regular basis. Vacuuming prevents matting and removes dirt particles that can wear down the the fibers. Easy vacuuming tips that will help:
* Vacuum both sides of the rug to remove all ground in dirt
* Vacuum cleaners with beater bars are fine to use on low pile rugs, but should not be used on deep plushes or fringing. To clean these, use a bristle brush attachment instead.
* Rugs too small to vacuum can be carefully shaken outdoors to remove dust and dirt.
2. Spot clean as needed. All synthetic area rugs can handle a bit of spot cleaning to prevent stains from setting. To spot clean my synthetic rugs, I use these easy instructions:
* Mix up a few drops of dishwashing soap with a quart of warm water.
* Moisten a washcloth with this soapy solution, wring out excess moisture, and blot the area rug to clean. For stubborn stains, use an old toothbrush to careful brush the soiled fibers.
* Rinse the cleaned area and blot dry.
3. Wash or dry clean at least once a year. Most synthetic rugs are made of nylon, polypropylene, viscose or acrylic to mimic the plushness of wool. While the nylon blends can handle being washed at home, synthetics such as high pile acrylics or polypropylene must be sent out for dry cleaning instead. If dry cleaning isn’t in your budget, then it’s best to avoid buying “dry clean only” rugs to begin with. You can usually find the laundry instructions on the back of the rug, near a corner.
If your synthetic poly rugs do not have a label prohibiting “wet washing”, then it’s perfectly safe to wash them yourself. Remember to always to spot test an area first for color fastness. How I wash the poly blend rugs at my house follows:
1. Fill the bathtub to a depth of 6 inches with warm, soapy water. Regular laundry detergent will work fine.
2. Use a scrub brush to spot clean spills and set in stains.
3. Drop the rug into the tub, and agitate by lifting the ends up and down in the water for several minutes,
4. Drain the dirty water, refill with clean cold water. Agitate. Drain water.
5. Depending on the size of the rug, you may have to drain and refill the tube several times until the water is clear.
6. Once the rug is clean, prop it up in the tub for an hour while the water drips out of the fibers.
7. Line dry outside.
Rugs larger than 4 x 6 are a little too heavy for cleaning in a tub; these should be either hung over a fence or clothesline for scrubbing, or can be washed with a household carpet cleaner.
When it comes to cleaning your household area rugs, regular vacuuming and spot cleaning will make a huge difference in keeping those synthetic rugs looking like new. And when the rugs are dirty enough to require heavy duty laundering, following the laundry instructions on the back of the rug will ensure that they won’t fall apart in the wash.